Handmade African Instruments

Handmade African Instruments
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 3 to 5
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   4.3

     challenging words:    birdhouse, dangle, disks, distinct, dugi, fitted, gourd, kalimba, manyanga, mbira, netting, shekere, tic-toc, palms, study, bamboo
     content words:    South Africa

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Handmade African Instruments
By Brenda B. Covert

1     As you study different styles of music, you will see how many different types of instruments exist. Different countries around the world have created their own unique instruments in order to make their own style of music. You would never mistake music from Ireland, for instance, as music from Africa. Each has its own distinct sounds.
  Of the many different types and sizes of African drums, the dugi dugi (or tic-toc) drum from Kenya is a small drum on a stick. It looks like a lollipop! The head is made with painted animal hide. It is stretched across a form. The head has two short strings that dangle a bead; there is one on each side. It looks like a round face with dangling earrings. This kind of drum is easy to play! It works by twirling the stick between your palms or fingers. The beads will swing around and strike the front and back of the head.

  The shekere rattle is made from a gourd. It is hollowed out. A net made of string and strung with round seeds is wrapped around the base of the gourd. The player holds the neck or handle of the gourd in one hand. He can shake or twist the gourd, tap it, or tug on the netting, depending on the type of sound desired. The sound comes from the seeds scraping against the gourd's shell.

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